Vinoba Bhave

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Vinoba Bhave (September 11, 1895November 15, 1982), born "Vinayak Narahari Bhave", often called "Acharya Vinoba Bhave" (Acharya in Sanskrit means teacher) is considered as a National Teacher of India who has left his firm imprint on the religious, social and political consciousness of India. He was born in Gagode, Maharashtra into a pious family of Chitpawan clan. He was highly inspired after reading, at an young age, the Bhagawad Gita. He was associated with Gandhi in his struggle for the freedom of India. In 1932 he was sent to jail by the British colonial government because of his fight against British rule. There he gave a series of talks on the Gita, in his native language Marathi, to his fellow prisoners. These highly inspiring talks were later published as the book "Talks on the Gita", and it has been translated to many languages both in India and elsewhere. Vinoba felt that the source of these talks was something above and he believed that its influence will endure even if his other works were forgotten. In 1940 he was chosen by Gandhi to be the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up for Truth instead of a collective action) against the British rule.

Vinoba's religious outlook was very broad and it synthesized the truths of many religions. This can be seen in one of his hymns "Om Tat" which contains symbols of many religions. He was also a scholar of many languages.

Vinoba observed the life of the average Indian living in a village and tried to find solutions for the problems he faced with a firm spiritual foundation. This formed the core of his "Sarvodaya" (Awakening of all potentials) movement. Another example of this is the "Bhoodhan" (land gift) movement. He walked all across India asking people with land to consider him as one of their sons and so give him a portion of their land which he then distributed to landless poor. Nonviolence and compassion being a hallmark of his philosophy, he also campaigned against the slaughtering of cows.

Vinoba spent the later part of his life at his ashram in Paunar, Maharashtra. There he died in 1982 after refusing food and medicine few days earlier.

Quotes

  • "All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts."
  • "Peace is something mental and spiritual. If there be peace in our (personal) life, it will affect the whole world"
  • "Jai Jagat!—Victory to the world! "
  • "It is a curious phenomena that God has made the hearts of the poor, rich and those of the rich, poor."
  • "What we should aim at is the creation of people power, which is opposed to the power of violence and is different from the coercive power of state."
  • "A country should be defended not by arms, but by ethical behavior."

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